It’s funny how you can take one “old saying,” and apply it to two different circumstances, and it mean two totally different things.
All my life, the saying that “The Buzzards are Circling” was a bad thing.
A very bad thing.
In fact, it always meant that, as bad as things are now … they were about to get worse.
That is … until I moved into the North Country.
To the Great North Woods.
A place where even words like “Spring” have a totally different meaning than from anywhere else in the Country.
A little over 2 weeks ago, our version of “Spring” arrived.
As with a lot of things “up here,” what things mean “everywhere else” means something different here.
Please don’t take this as “always negative,” either. It’s amazing the difference that even something like “an old saying” can take on a totally different meaning … based solely upon the attitude of the person who is saying it. That’s the case with this “Buzzards are Circling” phrase. All my life, it has meant that things were going to go from bad to worse … and, that fact was so evident that even the buzzards knew it.
We all know what buzzards do. Like so many things we may consider as “undesirable,” they have a purpose and a benefit.
I’m thinking that the saying “The Buzzards are Circling” came from the Old West, here in the United States. My earliest memories of hearing the phrase came from watching those old Western movies, where, at a really bad time, the characters, always in a desperate situation with no hope for rescue, would look up to the skies … where, sure enough, the buzzards would be circling. We all knew what they were waiting for. What they were expecting to happen.
So, this phrase, it just went without saying, meant that all hope was gone. It’s over. I mean … things are so bad, that … well … the buzzards are circling …
Enter the Great North Woods.
The land across the road from our house is wooded.
Tall, tall pine trees.
Perfect for roosting.
Guess what roosts every year in the top of those big pine trees?
Guess when they begin to gather and roost in these trees?
At the end of Winter.
Not, necessarily, at the beginning of Spring.
But, at the end of Winter.
I honestly don’t know where they stay during the Winter months.
I really don’t.
I mean, I see them all Winter, all over the countryside.
But, they don’t roost here.
I don’t know where they stay all Winter.
All I know is that they show up, like clockwork, at Winter’s end, a couple of hours before dark.
First, only a couple of buzzards are seen circling around the trees.
Then, as we get closer and closer to dusk, the number increases.
You see them circling … first, in wide circles … then, gradually, the circles get smaller … and smaller … until, one by one, they land in the tops of the trees.
You can hear their wings ruffle as they get comfortable in the trees.
You can see them, through the branches, as you hear them “settle in for the night.”
Again, they only start doing this at the end of Winter … and, they continue to roost there all Summer, and deep into the Fall.
So … after such a long, long, cold, cold, seemingly never-ending Winter … last Wednesday, the last week of March … they started to arrive.
What an allegory this is … they arrived Wednesday evening … only a couple to begin with … but they were here!
The buzzards are circling!
Let me say that again:
The buzzards were circling!
Remember that early line about how even an “old saying” can take on a completely different meaning, based solely upon who was speaking it?
I clearly remember, last Wednesday evening, being on the front porch, and saying this, out loud, and I mean out loud:
“Thank you Jesus!
The buzzards are circling!”
God is so good.
He can even take something like that old saying, those words, and turn them into a praise report!
“Well, how is it now?”
Well … I’m looking out the office window, at 5:00PM on Friday, April 6.
What do I see?
It looks more like “blizzard.”
Good ‘ol North Country.
We’ve been blessed.
So it’s snowing.
This morning, when I left for School … it was 12 degrees.
But … the buzzards are circling!
It didn’t feel that cold.
Ok … that’s because we just finished a wind storm (good ‘ol high gusty winds with below freezing temperatures), and,
because the wind had subsided, it felt warmer.
How high has the wind been?
One of our neighbors, at School today, asked if we’d lost any trees.
So, 12 degrees, with no wind, was a blessing.
Plus … the buzzards are circling!
Man! I’m still looking outside, and it still looks like a blizzard.
Good ‘ol April 6th!
But … a few minutes ago, about 4:30 … through the snow … as I stood on the front porch … I could make out … through the snow … yes it was …
A buzzard circling!
I saw, and heard, him land in the treetop across the road, and heard the ruffling of his feathers …
Any minute now … more buzzards would be circling through the snow …
We’re at the end of Winter!
I look outside the window again:
Man, those are some big flakes!
I just looked out the back window.
Those are some big flakes!
I rush back to the office to make sure I read the calendar right. Yes … and, this last Sunday was, in fact, Easter.
Yep … Today is April 6.
Baseball season has started.
I gotta get back out to that front porch …
I gotta see more buzzards!
I also gotta make sure I’ve got gas in the snow-blower …
I write of all this, because we have readers all over who just find it so hard to believe that the weather is really “like this.”
They always ask questions like “How do you handle it?”
(I know they really mean something like “What are you, crazy???)
Anyway, when I left for School this morning, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
What does this mean?
Stick around … it’ll change.
Enter the Great North Woods.
Here’s how we “handle it” in the North Country:
When I left School this afternoon, it had already begun to snow.
I left the School parking lot, and up ahead, a couple of blocks away … through the snow … I could make out an image …
A student, who lives a couple of blocks from the School, was shooting hoops, out in front of his house.
Keep in mind that it is snowing.
This student has a basketball goal at the end of his driveway, so he has to “dribble” in the street. There he was, shooting hoops …
as the snow continued to fall … wearing the “hoodie” which we up in New England have come to love … big deal … he was outside, Friday
after School … snow falling … big deal … he was playing basketball, and hitting layups …
Did he know we were officially at the end of Winter?
Did he know the buzzards had begun to circle?
A couple of streets down … snow falling heavier now … I glance off to the right … the baseball field …
Yep … there they were …. as the snow continued to fall …
Looks like everyone showed up.
As the snow falls.
Did they somehow know that it was the end of Winter?
Did they somehow know that the buzzards had returned?
Did they know, for a week now, that the buzzards had been circling?
For our friends “all over,” who are complaining about the cold weather, this is how we “handle” the weather “up here.”
Yes … the buzzards are indeed circling …
Let’s grab our bats, mitts and gloves … let’s get out there and practice our layups …
For … Praise God … “The Buzzards are Circling.”
Wow! Those are some really big flakes.
The buzzards are circling!
Just so you know … we’ve used 6 tons … plus 20 bags of wood pellets, in our stove … so far …
For those keeping score … that is 12,800 pounds of wood fuel pellets …
But … Thank you, Jesus … The buzzards are circling!
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.